Dinosaur Island on debut

The film's stars Kate Rasmussen of Melbourne, Darius Williams of Leura and director Matt Drummond.
The film's stars Kate Rasmussen of Melbourne, Darius Williams of Leura and director Matt Drummond.
Drummond with a T Rex character he created for his debut feature film Dinosaur Island. Photo: Shane Desiatnik. Visual effects work: Matt Drummond.

Drummond with a T Rex character he created for his debut feature film Dinosaur Island. Photo: Shane Desiatnik. Visual effects work: Matt Drummond.

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Leura filmmaker Matt Drummond's epic dinosaur adventure opens in his old Blue Mountains Grammar School biology classroom where interesting ideas about science and dinosaurs were never far away.

"I came up with many ideas in science class at Grammar which is probably why I didn't do as well as I should have," he said at the international premiere at The Edge in Katoomba on the weekend.

"Science has always been my passion. I thought, let's bring some of the science into the mainstream and have some fun with it."

In his children's film, Dinosaur Island, the 41-year-old Emmy award winner for art and graphic design magically transports his audience to a prehistoric world, filled with feathered, multi-coloured, dino-friends and some not-so-friendly.

The film has been sold by Arclight films to 60 countries around the world and the self-taught visual effects pioneer already has finance for a sequel, and another feature film.

"Our sales agent is still in negotiations with China and a couple of other Asian territories," he told the Gazette.

"Japan, South Korea and Thailand are releasing the film soon. India and Pakistan just released in cinemas. We recently closed the deal with Millennium for North America and Canada."

The film will be dubbed into German, French and Spanish, he said.

Mr Drummond said he always wanted to open the film in the Blue Mountains, where so much of it was filmed.

"What was interesting was seeing people's reaction to it, an audience others than the film buyers, we know they loved it as they've bought it all over the world.

"I think people enjoyed it. I've had a few of our target market say they loved it," he said after the film.

Drama students from Grammar feature in the film and one of them, Darius Williams, is the star.

He finds himself stranded on an island lost in time filled with ghost ships, downed planes, prehistoric creatures and a strange girl who claims to have come from the 1950s.

Dinosaur Island saw the creature creator turn his talents to directing and script writing for the first time - "a huge learning curve", but he wrote what he knew he could create, he told the Gazette.

A point of difference from blockbusters like Jurassic Park is there are no grey lizards here.

"Recent discoveries in China of feathered Tyrannosaur species such as Yutyrannus huali, Guanlong wucaii and Dilong paradoxus all provide us with solid evidence that Tyrannosaurs like other theropods had feathers," Drummond has said.

His earlier Emmy award winning documentary work for the History Channel, collaborating with various palaeontologists, also looked at theories about keratin which led him to explore the idea of coloured dinos, he said. Mr Drummond said he saw "a niche in the live-action, family entertainment space [for feature films] that was not being filled. Fortunately we found the sweet spot."

Mayor Mark Greenhill, who attended the premiere with his teenage daughter, said: "Matt and [co-producer] Megan Williams have shown us that creative industries are very much where the Blue Mountains is going."

Dinosaur Island, targeted at six to 12-year-olds, will be released through Hoyts cinemas next Saturday, February 14.

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